Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bruening, George
Location University of California, Davis
Primary Field Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
 Election Citation
Bruening has made many important contributions to plant virology. Most notable are the discovery of the basis of resistance of a plant to an RNA virus (it produces an inhibitor of viral protease necessary for cleavage of viral polyprotein to active forms) and of self-processing among plant satellite RNAs.
 Research Interests
Plant viruses are economically important pathogens of crop plants, particularly of vegetatively propagated and tropical crops. We are investigating (i) the actions of natural and engineered genes of plants that interfere with (resistance genes) or stimulate the virus infection cycle and (ii) the associations of certain small RNA molecules, known as satellite RNAs, with plant viruses. Genes mediating extreme resistance against plant viruses are under study. Genetically engineered synthetic resistance genes also are being developed using combinatorial peptide selection and other methods. A satellite RNA acts as a molecular parasite of the associated plant virus. Some small satellite RNA molecules have no encoded genes and replicate by a mechanism that uses RNA cleavage and joining reactions catalyzed by the RNA itself. We seek to understand satellite RNA replication and the ability of satellite RNA to interfere with the associated virus.

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